Welcome to my first blog on the Hockey Buzz site. It is that time of year. Sometimes I think it is as much fun as the season. Our beloved Oil have a lot of holes to fill, no untouchables, loads of draft picks and room under the Salary Cap. That is an equation for an exciting off season.
The biggest hole in my opinion is defensemen. The new NHL you need offensive-minded defensemen. Our leading D scorer last year was Jason Smith with 11 points. That can't happen again. In the new NHL the easiest way to get the offence going is to have an effective powerplay.
This is why the Sheldon Souray rumours won't go away. I wish they would. It is one thing to go after a high-powered offensive machine on the point. It is another to attract one with a -28 ranking.
That stat may be the ugliest in all of professional hockey. Combine this with Souray's appearance to be they type of player who will cash in on a huge season in his contract year and it makes for a perfect storm. I really hope that storm stays away from Northern Alberta.
If we are going after an overpaid defenseman I hope it is Redden. The Sens could use the Cap space, but don't NEED it. That will make a deal tough. Torres and some picks may do it. However, I am not holding my breath and nor should you dear reader.
As a matter of fact if I had to put my life on it, or even less importantly yours, I would bet that June 22 comes and goes with no major deals going down in Oil Country.
If this is the way it boils down in Oil Town then I hope to God we draft defensemen by the boatload.
No clear cut picks then I'd go for smooth skating D. If he is there and he should be at #6 Keaton Ellerby the cure to what ails the Oil. Jakub Voracek will be tempting in the shadow of losing Ryan Smyth, but I would rather take Ellerby any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Ellerby is even more tempting to me than Karl Alzner because of his skating and the ability to make the first pass.
Regardless it will be an exciting off-season, because even if the Oil get shutout in the UFA market and don't manage to land a decent defence core this year the repercussions may be enough to keep us in the John Tavares sweepstakes in 2009.